Credit Card Showdown at Frequent Flyer University

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So this weekend was the Frequent Traveler University at the Sheraton Meadowlands in New Jersey. I was asked to partake in Sunday’s session during the “Credit Card Tournament of Champions” where 12 credit cards went head to head to find out which one would be the “Best Credit Card in the Whole Galaxy.” It was a session moderated by Gary from View from the Wing. Other contenders facilitating this session with me included Mommy Points, Million Mile Secrets, and Tommy777. It was a really fun session and I think many of the participants really enjoyed this.

The roundup included (winners in red):

  • United Explorer (Mommy Points) vs. British Airways Visa (View from a Wing)blog post with pros/cons
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred (Me!) vs. Starwood American Express (Million Mile Secrets)blog post with pros/cons
  • Chase Ink Bold (Million Mile Secrets) vs. Alaska Visa (View from a Wing)blog post with pros/cons
  • American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (Million Mile Secrets) vs. Capital One (Tommy777) – blog post with pros/cons (coming soon)
  • American Express Platinum (Me!) vs. Ritz Carlton (Tommy777) – blog post with pros/cons (coming soon)
  • Fidelity Amex 2% Cashback (View from a Wing) vs. Citi AA Mastercard (MommyPoints) – blog post with pros/cons (coming soon)

It was a very sophisticated polling system (i.e., raising of the hands), and the ultimate winner actually went to the Starwood American Express card! While I beg to differ (as I was supporting the Sapphire Preferred card against the SPG card) I really do like the SPG card! While it would not be the sole card in my wallet, it definitely has a decent spot there amongst many other.

Since most of my blog readers were not able to attend, I will be doing my own version of this session on this site for you all. I will go through the pros/cons for you throughout this week and next for each match up – I know many of you are probably wondering which one works best for your personal situation so hopefully this will help!

Obviously for the Sapphire Preferred vs. SPG card Million Mile Secrets paid off some participants as the Sapphire Card should have won, but I’ll let it sly this time! Just kidding MMS – had a great time!

What are your thoughts about the winners above? Anyone think there should be a recount?


  1. […] If you use airport lounges often though, it might actually be worth it to look into the American Express Platinum card instead as you will receive unlimited complimentary lounge access for you and a guest at many participating airport lounges (not just limited to one airline). It is a $450 a year, but comes in handy for the frequent traveler desiring lounge access. I’ll be detailing this card more this week as part of my credit card showdown series. […]


  1. Had a great time at FTU. Nice seeing you again. You did a great job in “defending your card.” The chase card should go against something other than SPG in round 1. This event was the most fun of the weekend and I hope to see it repeated at the next FTU. Besides that I actually picked up a trick or two from it.

    • @Jim – Glad you enjoyed. I agree, had the Sapphire Preferred not been against SPG I think it would have come in 2nd place in the overall running. Thanks for the feedback as well for next time.

  2. Although perhaps a bit skeptical going in (I was the guy in the front row slagging off Tommy’s Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner), I thought that this turned out to be a really informative session. There was just an enormous density of credit card information packed into the session.

    Also, it was fun.

    • @LarryInNYC – I was also giving Tommy a hard time about the Ritz Carlton card! Glad it was informative and fun, and I agree that next time hand outs with these perks will be beneficial. If you have any particular questions that you weren’t able to write down in time, let me know and I’d be more than happy to help.

  3. What was class was Dariaus using your exact same language to defend the bold right after SPG. Your math is fine. šŸ™‚

    • @Singapore Flyer – šŸ™‚ we were having a fun time with it. Wow, math was not going well for me yesterday – who would have known I was a finance major.

    • @MMS – You too! I agree, the best card depends on your travel needs/spending habits, etc. There is by no means a one size fits all card out there (not yet at least!)

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